I stumbled upon some of my old journals the other day. Let me tell you, I have been an avid journal writer since a very young age. This habit mostly spawned from my dear mother, who wrote in her own journal every night without fail. Anyways, as I was rereading through some journal entries of the past, I was struck with a realization.
What would my sixteen-year-old self think if I had been given a glimpse of my life five years in the future (essentially, right now)? I think some sixteen-year-old doubts, concerns, fears, and worries wouldn't seem quite as important. Because, guess what, sixteen-year-old self? Life works itself out. And life works itself out splendidly.
Or what if my twenty-one-year old self could have given a few words of advice to my sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen year old self in times of need? Just a few short words during the times life seemed too hard.
Here's what my twenty-one-year old self would have said:
Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Self:
It's okay if that boy doesn't like you back. It's not the end of the world. Because, guess what? There's a much better (and did I mention cuter?) boy who will like you back in the future. And guess what else? He will get down on one knee someday and ask you to marry him, and you'll be the happiest girl alive. So, Sixteen-Year-old Self: don't you dare shed another tear over that boy. Or any other boy for that matter. Don't you dare tell yourself you're not pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, funny enough, or good enough for that boy. Because you'll be more than all of that to a wonderful boy in just short five years. Hold on, Sixteen-Year-Old Self. Save yourself and keep waiting for this future boy. He's worth it. And so are you.
Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Self:
Don't be so quick to grow up. Eighteen isn't that much different than seventeen. Take a deep breath, cherish the moment, and live in the moment. Be grateful for your parents everyday. And don't just think it, or write it down...show it. Show them. Because, guess what? In one short year, you're going to miss them. A lot. And you're going to wish that your Mom was just one door away again, instead of two states away. You're also going to wish that you could just walk up to your Dad everyday and give him a hug. You're going to really miss being Daddy's little girl. Hold on, Seventeen-Year-Old Self. Growing up is exciting, but so is life right now. Don't be so quick to be frustrated when Mom and Dad make decisions for you. Because you're going to end up really wishing that they could keep making decisions for you. Don't be slow to tell them you love them. Think twice before going to bed without giving them a hug. You won't have this opportunity forever. And one day, you'll really miss it.
Dear Eighteen-Year-Old Self:
Smile. This place will feel like home one day. It's okay to miss the familiarities of home, but work hard and make this place feel like home. Because, guess what? I promise it will. You are about to have so many opportunities and so many experiences here. Stop letting sad days pass you by. Chin up, young one. No more tears, no more sad days, no more "hermit" days. Believe it or not, you're going to make some friends that are just as good as the ones back home. And guess what else? Remember what I told Sixteen-Year-Old-Self? This is where you're going to meet that boy. The one you can't live without. This is where you're meant to be. Trust me. Keep reading your scriptures, keep believing, and don't let any more sad days pass you by. You're home right where you are. Hold on, Eighteen-Year-Old Self.
Dear Nineteen-Year-Old Self:
You're really having a tough year, aren't you? But please, take a look at the bigger picture. Look at what you've accomplished in such a short time. I know life seems really hard right now. But please, stop tearing yourself down. Because, guess what? You're doing a good job. I know it might not seem like it now, but I'm really pleased with you, Nineteen-Year-Old Self. I know you're seriously considering leaving BYU and going home. Hold on, Nineteen-Year-Old Self. Remember what I told Eighteen-Year-Old Self? You're meant to be here. And I meant it. Deep down, you love this place. Don't let a few hard months or a few hard situations let you forget that.
Dear Twenty-Year-Old Self:
Only a month of being twenty and you feel like you're on cloud nine, don't you? I told you he was great. I told you he was worth it. I told you this is where you were meant to be. I told you you'd be happier than you could have ever imagined. I told you this place would feel like home. And guess what else? Life is only going to get better. So much better. Don't worry, Twenty-Year-Old Self. He likes you back. And guess what else? He loves you. He loves you more than you'll probably ever know. Don't fret too much. He wants to be with you, too. In fact, he's going to ask you to marry him, to be with him for eternity, remember? I wish I could tell you how he proposes, but I can't ruin the surprise. Trust me on this one: he will surprise you, you will say yes, and you will be the happiest girl alive. Hold on, Twenty-Year-Old Self. He loves you too.
Dear Twenty-One-Year-Old Self: